July 15, 2014

For Afghanistan Election, After Kerry Deal Comes the Hard Part

By Richard Weitz

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s shuttle diplomacy in Kabul this weekend paved the way to resolving Afghanistan’s current election crisis, while helping to establish a potential framework for addressing more-enduring problems embedded in that country’s political system. In so doing, Kerry’s effort fortified Afghanistan’s ability to overcome future political challenges with less dependence on U.S. intervention and support. Despite the successful deal-making, however, Afghanistan continues to face major challenges.

Kerry’s trip proved essential for resolving the immediate crisis caused by Abdullah Abdullah’s refusal to accept that his rival, Ashraf Ghani, had overcome a weak first-round showing to surge ahead of Abdullah in last month’s second-round ballot without the help of serious electoral fraud in Ghani’s favor. Abdullah already believed that fraud had robbed him of the presidency in the 2009 Afghan national elections. 

Abdullah now claimed that he received a majority of the “clean ballots” in the June 14 runoff and that incumbent President Hamid Karzai, who won the 2009 election, had instructed electoral officials to cheat on Ghani’s behalf. Although he initially demanded only a comprehensive audit of the results, Abdullah subsequently suggested that he might declare a parallel government based in his strongholds in northern Afghanistan. At public rallies, many of his supporters called for such a move, and at least one provincial governor has recognized Abdullah as president.

Read the full op-ed at World Politics Review.

  • Commentary
    • Defense One
    • September 17, 2019
    The U.S. Military is Not, and Can Never Be, Afghanistan’s Police

    In 1829, the father of modern policing, Sir Robert Peel, established “Peel’s Principles” to describe the role of police at large. Almost 200 years later, policing has changed ...

    By COL Sarah Albrycht

  • Podcast
    • September 10, 2019
    Ending the war in Afghanistan

    Christopher D. Kolenda joins The World and Everything in It to discuss the latest developments in talks between the United States and the Taliban. Listen to the full conversa...

    By Christopher D. Kolenda

  • Podcast
    • August 30, 2019
    The Key Role Pakistan Is Playing In U.S.-Taliban Talks

    A bomb parked under the preacher's pulpit in a mosque likely had a high-profile target: a brother of the Taliban leader. It was seen by the Taliban as a warning to stop their ...

    By Stephen Tankel

  • Commentary
    • The Wall Street Journal
    • August 9, 2019
    The U.S. Abandoned Iraq. Don’t Repeat History in Afghanistan

    The announcement of a peace agreement between the U.S. and the Taliban is said to be imminent, after years of combat and months of negotiation. The U.S. will reportedly promis...

    By David H. Petraeus & Vance Serchuk

View All Reports View All Articles & Multimedia